We’ve all been through one or more break-ups, whether it was an amicable parting or a crushing, heartbreaking loss.

However, we’re about to break the stereotype that men handle break-ups better than women. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

A recent study in Evolutionary Behavioural Sciences has found that men are actually more vulnerable to long-term distress following a break-up than women.

In a study of around 5,705 participants from 96 countries, it was found that whilst women experience intense pain immediately after a break-up, they get over it pretty quickly. Whereas men, on the other hand, move on quickly but remain damaged for longer.

The study worked by asking participants to rate their break-ups from 0-10 (0 being none to 10 being unbreakable) in terms of emotional and physical pain.

Women tended to be more negatively affected by break-ups, averaging 6.84 on emotional pain and 4.21 on physical pain, whereas men averaged 6.58 on emotional pain and 3.75 on physical pain.

Craig Morris, a lead research associate at Binghamton University said:

“Put simply, women are evolved to invest far more in a relationship than a man. A brief romantic encounter could lead to nine months of pregnancy followed by many years of lactation for an ancestral woman, while the man may have ‘left the scene’ literally minutes after the encounter, with no further biological investment.

It is this ‘risk’ of higher biological investment that, over evolutionary time, has made women choosier about selecting a high-quality mate. Hence, the loss of a relationship with a high-quality mate ‘hurts’ more for a woman.”[1]

Other interesting results include the experience of insomnia after a break-up in both men and women and the result that women experience unwanted weight changes following a break-up, but men do not.

When it came to who initiated the ending of a relationship, women proved to be the instigators 39% of the time. Going further into the reasons for the break-up, surprisingly infidelity was not the top choice. “Lack of communication” was listed as the top reason for break-ups, by both men and women.

This study titled “Quantitative Sex Differences in Response to the Dissolution of a Romantic Relationship” was published in July 2015 has broken the stereotype that women are more damaged by relationships by proving that it is, in fact, men who are left distressed in the long-term.

Based on your personal experience, would you agree with these findings?

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Dorothy Barnes

    This is so true …

  2. Ivona Mitrovic

    Article seems like incomplete analysis. There are no claims in the body of the text to support the opening premise. No stereotypes had been harmed in any way.

  3. Tod

    Depends on who is the dumper & who the dumpee …

  4. Linda Williams

    Maybe I missed something but it appears from the article that women suffer more pain (both emotional and physical numbers in the article) than men, which doesn’t match the title’s claim.

  5. Richard

    I totally agree, i have believed this for many years based on other articles i have read , though primarily from my own experience.

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